Creative HQ-2300D Dolby Headphones - Creative HQ-2300D Headphones

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Though Creative includes a set of headphones in the box, the decoder can of course be used with any pair of your choice. This means that if you prefer to use a set of noise cancelling headphones on a train or plane you can still get the benefit of Dolby Headphone. However, the ones supplied are pretty good, especially considering the price. They are quite large, but the benefit is a fuller sound. The headphones are a closed back design, which helps to keep extraneous sounds out and at 40mm the driver units are large enough to give plenty of bass without sounding over exerted. The headphones are thickly padded and the drivers aren’t placed too close to the ears, which meant that they could be worn for extended periods without a problem.


So how did they sound? The first test I made was to plug them into my Sony PSP and fire up Ridge Racer. I was immediately impressed. With just the Dolby Headphone button lit the sound became noticeably more open and spacious removing the sense of the sound being boxed up inside. Pressing the Dolby Pro Logic II button and the effect was even more marked. The commentator’s voice became more resonant and clear, while on the race replays there was a sense of sounds panning and movement.

I then tested DVD playback using Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Men in Black. With a full Dolby Digital or DTS bit-stream to work with the decoder did a good job at mimicking an actual speaker set-up. Dialogue, was moved to centre stage as it would be with a proper speaker set-up and some widely off-axis sounds from Men In Black, sounded at first as if they were coming from an outside source.


Music on the other hand doesn’t always benefit as much from the surround processing, though this depends of the content. With some music it really worked and with other not so much.

If I was to nit-pick I have to admit that once you turn on the Dolby Headphone and Pro Logic II buttons the sound does take on a noticeably processed quality. However, after experimenting with having it on or off, or using a regular set of headphones, I wouldn’t want to go back to a conventional set of headphones for games or DVDs and I’d use it occasionally for music.


Ultimately, it’s not going to be a replacment for a full-on surround set-up but if you do have to listen on headphones, this is a great alternative.


The other niggle is that an optical cable isn’t included in the box, which meant I couldn’t test it with my Xbox.


In the future I would love to see the technology shrunk down even further. Perhaps the next PSP or equivalent could have it built-in? In the mean time, this package is easily recommendable, especially seeing as Ebuyer is offering it for £20 less than the RRP.


”’Verdict”’


What’s really impressive about the Creative’s is that the Dolby Headphone technology works so well, truly enhancing the listening experience when playing both stereo content and surround from DVDs, though the effect on some types of music might not be to everyone‘s taste.

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